Aussie Cannes juror claims he was not allowed to call out scam

The executive creative director of Innocean Worldwide Australia has claimed jurors were not allowed to call out entries they felt may have been scam during the judging process at this year’s Cannes Lions festival, and said organisers put pressure on his jury to elevate work.

Dave KingDave King, a veteran of M&C Saatchi and Whybin\TBWA, spent the week judging on the Direct Jury at Cannes, voicing his concerns in a column for Campaign Brief.

King wrote that the jury was not allowed to call out scam, but that he had suspicions about a lot of work entered, and noted his particular disgust at the Bronze Lion-winning I Sea app created by Grey Singapore, which has been deleted from the Apple Store and denounced by the client.

Himself a winner of more than a dozen Lions, King slammed agencies willing to scam their way to awards on the back of human tragedy.

“We weren’t allowed to call ‘scam’ but my radar was going off constantly,” King wrote.

“And the repugnant thing was most of the scam work was taking advantage of tragedy, following death or chaos. Like the miserable people who developed the I Sea app, there was a lot of dodgy work for charities.


“I had to call one as the case video was impeccable but so clearly didn’t happen. It was also a case of one of the judges putting it forward for another member of the panel. Sadly, that shit and block-voting still happens, but you probably knew that.”

King also questioned the workload faced by jurors as the they whittled down 2,000 entries to just handful, with just 2.4% receiving awards at the end. Initial entries had been culled from more than 3,000 in a bid to make the juror’s workload more manageable.

“That number would have been even lower had we not been ‘encouraged’ to bump work up,” King said, noting organisers dubbed the jury the “toughest Direct Jury in the history of Cannes”.

Grey Group Asia Pacific has remained silent since it won Bronze. The app was removed from Apple’s App store after technology experts claimed it to be fake, while the supposed client, the Migration Offshore Aid Station (MOAS) told British IT title The Register it had not been involved in the creation of the app.

In statement, MOAS said it had cut all ties with the agencies.

“As a global NGO that rescues people at sea, we are approached by countless number of companies and innovators who would like to contribute to our cause,” MOAS said, in a statement.

“We make it a point to try and give advice according to our own experience in the field of search-and-rescue and in line with our humanitarian principles.”

It said when approached by Grey it had been told the app would use real-time images.

“We were dismayed to discover that real-time images were not being used. We have since discontinued our relationship with Grey for Good and spoken candidly about our disappointment to the media.”


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